Measurements of the backscattering from the lower atmosphere of linearly polarized ruby lidar pulses at 694 nm are described. A four-channel receiver provides simultaneous measurements of the four components of the Stokes vector of the scattered radiation. These data are used to obtain information on the polarization state of the scattering and its dependence on atmospheric conditions. Results are presented and discussed for clear air, hazes, and several cloud types. In water droplet clouds some rotation of the plane of polarization and changes in ellipticity are noted in the backscattered wave. Linear polarization of the penetrating lidar beam is strongly preserved even in quite dense clouds. In view of the increased complexity of the four-component measurement technique it would appear that in such cases two-channel measurements of δ would be the most efficient lidar approach.
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